National Op-Eds Defend Liberal Education
New York Times columnists endorse the value of a liberal-arts education
June 9, 2010
New York Times Columnist David Brooks puts his sandbag on the levee of support for the liberal arts in his recent op-ed "History for Dollars." Brooks comments on the inclination of students to steer away from the study of subjects such as history, English and art during difficult times and laments the valuable skills that are lost.
"Studying the humanities improves your ability to read and write. No matter what you do in life, you will have a huge advantage if you can read a paragraph and discern its meaning (a rarer talent than you might suppose)."
Stanley Fish, in his opinion piece "A Classical Education: Back to the Future," quotes Martha Nussbaum—philosopher, classicist, ethicist and law professor.
"Students should be brought 'to see themselves as members of a heterogeneous nation . . . and a still more heterogeneous world, and to understand something of this history of the diverse groups that inhabit it.' Developing intelligent world citizenship is an enormous task that can not even begin to be accomplished without the humanities and arts that 'cultivate capacities for play and empathy,' encourage thinking that is 'flexible, open and creative' and work against the provincialism that too often leads us to see those who are different as demonized others."